September 18 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
A trio of housing schemes which would fund a new sixth-form centre and boost boarding houses at Gresham’s school could be rejected because of unsustainable development fears.
Three plots of land at the historic school in Holt are earmarked for more than 150 homes and if sold would release more than £9.5m for the projects.
Planning officers at North Norfolk District Council have recommended the separate applications are refused by the authority’s development committee this Thursday.
Reasons include the largest site would have an adverse impact upon the character of the town’s rural outskirts; two of the sites are outside the town’s development boundary; and all three fail to provide enough affordable housing.
The largest plot is up to 126 homes on a field south of Cromer Road and east of Grove Lane.
Up to 19 houses could be built on a school playing field south of Cromer Road and west of Grove Lane.
The smallest proposal is up to eight homes north of Grove Lane on part of a school recreational field.
Just under 80 objection letters have been sent to the council and concerns include the loss of green space; inadequate local infrastructure for extra homes; and the modernisation of Gresham’s should not be to the detriment of the local community.
A Gresham’s school spokesman said: “If Gresham’s does not invest now while its reputation is still high, it could go into decline. The officers have failed to consider what happens to the local economy if Gresham’s were to close. Not just 375 jobs would go and £20m-plus annually would not be injected by the school into the local economy, but 400 local children would need to be educated elsewhere. No account has been taken of the impact on the cultural life of north Norfolk if there were no theatre or music or sport at Gresham’s anymore.”
They added that if one or more of the applications were refused governors would look at “other much less beneficial strategies to keep the school viable”.
Holt Town Council back the plans.
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